Pub Day!

Today's the day!  NEVER MARRY A VISCOUNT is on sale, and it's an especially good one, at least as far as I'm concerned.  Oh, and as far as Publishers Weekly and RT and individual reviewers are concerned.  It has comic misunderstandings, sexy times, the other sisters and their spouses make an appearance, and ends with a remarkable wedding.  What more could you ask? 

Let's hope this link will work: 

We'll hope that worked -- it turned blue, at least.  (Though isn't that like a pregnancy test?)

Hmmm.  How do I add photos to this?  Let's see what I can do.  

That worked too!  I'm on a roll!

That worked too!  I'm on a roll!

Now I have to admit I've been fussing a little bit, as review after review have said "this is the first time I've read Anne Stuart but I'll definitely read more."  When I do guest blogs and chats and stuff it's like the last forty years never existed, that books I cherished never existed.  And I brood over what I or my publishers have done wrong over the years.

And then, duh, I finally realized why.  It's a new world and several new generations.  First off, I don't need to worry about books that I wrote that are forgotten -- nothing is forgotten.  They get a new life, either thanks to me or Belle Books or Harlequin or whomever holds the rights, and I have to have faith that the right book will find the right reader.

But more importantly, these readers who have never read me, never heard of me, are probably relatively new readers.  People who grew up on Nora Roberts and Julia Quinn, who grew up on paranormals and women's fiction.  And they've been avidly reading writers who manage a great deal of output, as I did back in the day.  There's no reason for me to feel hurt or that I've wasted my life (one thought that went through my self-indulgent brain when I was busy mourning too many recent losses, including the death of my beloved cat, Phantom, and the imminent move of my grandchildren to the DC area, more than 500 miles away).  

Instead I need to view it as a delightful challenge.  New, happy readers are a gift from the gods, and I celebrate every one of them!

I'm still mourning (Phantom was only six years old, hit by a car when he was out hunting, and the grandchildren are still moving) but I also have a new Ice book to revise and it's so good I can barely stand it.  I sit here in my office and squee with delight as I read certain scenes.  It's wonderful when you love your job.

And so many other good things to work on.  Mollie is sending out my first ever newsletter, so if you haven't signed up you might do so, just to see how hard I'm working.

In the meantime, if you haven't read Anne Stuart, give her a try.  She's worth it.

In Which I Am NOT Professional

Well, you know, life is busy.  And I get distracted.  I managed to write a fabulous book this summer (mainly because I loved it so much - if it had been less of a treasure I would now be facing a two month delay in turning it in, instead of 2 weeks.  But the summer has been full of stress and joy, with the grown children (my eldest recently referred to herself as "one of the two great evils you have unleashed upon the world" -- that's my kid!) going through various crises, spending half a lifetime in a play (I played the evil Mrs. Mullin in "Carousel" as well as a gimpy townsperson because they needed my voice).  I lost 15 pounds by accident, since I was so busy.

But finally most everything was done, and we had a final hot day, and I decided to spend a couple of hours floating around in the pool listening to the latest Ilona Andrews.  Uh, except that sometime this week I had a conference phone call with Amazon about launch plans for NEVER MARRY A VISCOUNT.  I thought of it yesterday morning, thinking it might be that day, and while I was checking my email my eldest spawn (another favorite term of hers) called, and then I had to see my new therapist, and I forgot to check.  So there I was, floating happily in our big, blow up pool, when suddenly I remembered that I forgot to check.  I leapt out of the pool -- it was a little after four -- and raced to the phone.  A message had been left, and I was just trying to listen to it when the phone rang again, and Caller ID said Amazon.

So I picked up the phone and greeted everyone with "Oh, shit."

Stripped off my bathing suit while talking to them and had Richie the Saintly wrap me in a towel, which I then informed those in NY and Seattle what I was or was not wearing.  I will simply not behave like a grown up.

That's one reason I don't drink (or not much).  I'm pretty outrageous to being with -- I don't set out to be, but I say what comes into my mind without a whole lot of filters, because filters are boring.  I'm the kind of person who throws herself into everything -- and I don't hold back (fortunately I don't have much of a temper and that's one of the few things I do hold back on).

As the late, great Robin Williams said, "if they can't take a 'fuck,' joke them."  He probably also said "I yam what I yam" since he played Popeye but I never saw the movie.  

Fortunately Amazon found me amusing and my agent is used to me by now - she probably rolls her eyes because I have gotten into big trouble simply making observations, and she's had to do damage control.  But you know, it's a lot more fun to simply say "oh, shit" when you've done a dumb ass thing like miss an important, pre-arranged phone-call.

Today I dive into the revisions of The Book With No Name, since I'm turning it in on Tuesday.  While I chase my almost 7 year old grandson around.  I'm hoping we can play in the pool too -- yesterday was probably our last hot day but it might get close to 80 before the storms come in.

At least things are calming down on the home front.  Now I just have to revise this sucker!



Oh, Joy, oh Rapture!

I am having the best time of my life.  Every now and then there are books that are absolute gifts from god.  Wonderful, involving, easy books to write, they just flow from my computer (or my pen if I'm writing long hand)  and I can't wait to get to work.  The pages/words pile up, my energy is phenomenal, my mood is sunny, all's right with the world and everything  is glorious.

You can't count on a  book to be this seamless, to be so in love with your characters, with every word coming right and insights coming almost by accident.  We call these "gift" books, and some people who aren't professional writers think all books have to be like this, or else they won't write.  They wait for that glorious inspiration to hit, and if it doesn't they go shopping (or drinking, or whatever their drug of choice is).

For the rest of us, for every gift book there are wonderful books that are plain hard work and discipline and books we adore, but they aren't the glorious, mountain-top experiences.

Mind you, what I feel about a book has nothing to do with what readers might end up deciding, and I try to be careful not to disparage a book that was misery to write.  The Harlequin book of mine that made the most money, has been reprinted and put in audio and won a RITA (I think) is FALLING ANGEL, and I had my first real bout of writers' block when I was writing it.  So I dislike the book, because it was so damned hard to write, and it's often people's favorite of mine.

Conversely, I'd been losing my mojo a bit, with STILL LAKE a painful effort (though I like it in retrospect), and then I wrote INTO THE FIRE.  That book caught fire, I wrote it in a white heat, I love every single word of it, and it's one of the most controversial books I've ever written.  People either love it or hate it -- it got one of my favorite reviews from PW, which said it was "troubling."  People read the hero's convoluted, denial-plagued thoughts as his real feelings, and they thought he was a total, brutal asshat.

I adore that book.  I listen to the audio on a regular basis.  But it did nothing for my career -- maybe even sunk it further into the mire.

However, most gift books push me ahead.  I'll list just a few of them -- THE DEMON COUNT, LORD SATAN'S BRIDE, TANGLED LIES, NIGHT OF THE PHANTOM, NIGHTFALL, BLACK ICE, TO LOVE A DARK LORD, RUTHLESS, ON THIN ICE ... in fact, almost all of the ICE books.  And those have been books that have mostly made a difference in my career.

So this one is completely glorious.  It's the first of THE COMMITTEE GOES TO AMERICA.  Yup, it's an ICE book where the Committee opens a branch in the US (probably in New Orleans -- I'm making this up as I go along).  We've got a delicious operative, we've got a furious woman, we've got killers and devious, venal branch of the Catholic church (the fabulous new pope would kick their butts).  We've got Montana and New Orleans and a vintage airstream camper and man, we even have Venice.  Damn, I love this book!

One thing that's interesting -- I'm listening to my soundtrack, which keeps growing by leaps and bounds.  I haven't written to music with lyrics (while I write, that is) for a long, long time.  (Maybe listening to J-rock doesn't count, since I don't understand squat in Japanese except gomenasai, aishitteru and sumimasen - two of those are I'm sorry and one is I love you).  Oh, and itadakimasu and arigato gozaimasu and screw the spellings, which are "eat up" and "thankyouverymuch")

Anyway, when I wrote NIGHTFALL, which I consider a mountain-top experience, I listened to Richard Thompson non-stop.  RT is the soundtrack for most of my romantic suspense novels -- pounding, intricate guitar, gorgeous howling vocals, lashing pain and deep wit.  I'm his slave for life.

The more I listen to my soundtrack the more energy goes into the work.  This book is so damned good it's writing itself.  I write, and things just show up and mesh in beautifully.  Even though I'm flat out with a thousand things (packing/fixing the house to sell, a juicy little part in "Carousel" that'll take a huge mount of time in July, grandchildren I want to fawn over, and reissues to rewrite, etc.)

But when the writing is going well then everything is going well.  And when the writing is this good then the world's a grand and glorious place.

I'm playing around with heat titles to differentiate from ice.  I was thinking the cover name of the US Committee might be Flame, Inc.  With something like "The Committee to Protect Against Firestorms" or something along that line but a little better.  I'm going with titles like SCORCHED and SCALDED, but the one word title won't work because they've been used and they're too easy to confuse (one problem with the Rohan books).

SCORCHED EARTH sounds too bleak, SCORCHED HEART too romance-y.  I'll have to play around with it some more.  Suggestions gratefully accepted.

Back to work.  Happy happy happy.

Back Again

All right, I'm covered in shame.  I still haven't gotten the stuff out for England, Australia and Canada.  I will do it today -- I promise.  They're packed up and addressed -- they just threw me when I needed to fill out custom slips and there was a line behind me.  I know, I'm impossibly wicked.

But the good news is today's Kindle Daily Deal in Romance is NEVER KISS A RAKE and NEVER TRUST A PIRATE!  Only $1.99 each.  Now most of you know about those books but it's lovely of Amazon to put them on sale and if you know anyone else who's interested pass it along.

I wanted to talk about Soundtracks.  I listen to one of two things when I write.  Either a DVD/audiotape/mp3 of something called HIGH FOCUS by Brain Sync (you can find it at Amazon) which basically sounds like white noise whoosh-whoosh but taps into gamma and delta and beta waves and all that sort of stuff.  None of which I understand or am interested in, I only know it works.

But I also listen to soundtracks.  One of the first I ever did was for AGAINST THE WIND, which obviously had Bob Seger's song, plus Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Bruce Cockburn (which probably fits every book) and some Stevie Nicks and others.  Back then you made mix tapes, and I'd sit and work on them.  My best mix tape was when I was going through infertility treatment, which trust me, is rough, and I had to drive 65 miles each way to the doctor.  I usually listened to doleful Celtic music and wept, so I decided to make a happy tape, starting with "Wouldn't it be Nice" by the Beach Boys and lots of other cheery stuff.  It kept me relatively sane during those seven years.  (Yup, seven years of treatment and trying, and then Kaim came arrived and two years later Tim.  God bless adoption).

But I digress.  So I'm working on a new book and this time it's soundtrack time.  And I've got a long one, ever growing.  Just for today, I'll give you the current list, and then in a few days time I'm going to break it down into moods and acts.  When in doubt I usually just put Richard Thompson on and he gets me in the right attitude.

Here's the current list:

Let Him Fly            3:08  Dixie Chicks                       

Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime            5:52            Beck           

Harder Now That It's Over            4:33            Ryan Adams           

High and Dry            4:13            Radiohead                                               

Keep Your Distance            4:12            Richard Thompson           

Not Pretty Enough            3:20            Kasey Chambers                       

A Sense Of Wonder            7:11            Van Morrison                       

When I Get To The Border            3:28            Richard & Linda Thompson                       

Shelter from the Storm            5:02            Bob Dylan                                   

I Can't Make You Love Me            5:48            Bonnie Raitt           

21 Guns (feat. Green Day & the Cast of American Idiot)

Love Interruption            2:38            Jack White           

I'm Shakin'            3:00            Jack White           

You Can Close Your Eyes            2:30            James Taylor           

One Woman Army            3:56            Kate Earl            

Everything's On Fire            2:02            The Kennedys           

Hungry Heart            3:18            Lucy Wainwright Roche           

She Will Be Loved            4:17            Maroon 5           

Birds            2:33            Neil Young           

Let Her Go            4:13            Passenger           

Trouble            4:02            Ray LaMontagne           

Against The Wind            5:34            Bob Seger           

Tougher Than the Rest            4:34            Bruce Springsteen           

let the river run            3:42            carly simon                                               

I Will Possess Your Heart            8:36            Death Cab for Cutie           

Not Ready To Make Nice            3:58            Dixie Chicks            Taking The Long Way           

Your Protector            4:10            Fleet Foxes           

Follow you down            4:30            Gin Blossoms           

The distance            4:46            Jan and evan or whatever                                               

Take Me Walking In the Rain            5:51            Janis Ian           

Don't Give Up            5:55            Peter Gabriel           

Thin Line Between Love & Hate            3:40            The Pretenders                                   

Wall Of Death            3:42            Richard & Linda Thompson           

Gimme Shelter            4:33            Rolling Stones           

Paint It Black            3:46            Rolling Stones           

For Shame Of Doing Wrong            4:30            Richard & Linda Thompson           

Chasing Cars            4:28            Snow Patrol           

I Bid You Goodnight            4:02            Aaron Neville           

Thin Line Between Love And Hate            4:55            Annie Lennox                                   

Things Have Changed            5:09            Bob Dylan           

Accidentally Like A Martyr            3:44            Warren Zevon           

Silent Running  Mike And The Mechanics            6:14                                                           

Don't Feel Your Touch            4:50            Bruce Cockburn           

Lovers In A Dangerous Time            4:07            Bruce Cockburn           

Hat Full Of Stars            4:28            Cyndi Lauper           

Running Up That Hill              5:00            Kate Bush           

The Loner            3:54            Neil Young                                               

Return To Me            4:18            October Project           

Games Without Frontiers            3:58            Peter Gabriel            Shaking

The Ghost In You            4:18            The Psychedelic Furs           

When The Spell Is Broken [Live]            6:56            Richard Thompson           

Rick Astley - Cry For Help            4:53                                                           

Seven Devils            5:03            Florence + The Machine           

Shake It Out            4:38            Florence + The Machine           

Fix You            4:55            Coldplay           

Arrow            4:21            Cheryl Wheeler           

Silver Springs (Advanced Resolution Stereo Version)            4:46            Fleetwood Mac           

It Makes No Difference (2001 Digital Remaster)            6:32            the band           

These Days            4:45            Jackson Browne           

Here Come Those Tears Again            3:33            Jackson Browne           

What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)            3:42            Kelly Clarkson           

Sober            3:48            Kelly Clarkson           

Radioactive            3:07            Imagine Dragons           

Hard Love            4:37            Claudia Schmidt            Out of the Dark           

Windows Are Rolled Down            3:57            Amos Lee           

Safe & Sound (The Voice Performance)            3:08            Savannah Berry           

Jack White - Love Is Blindness            3:18           

Never Let Me Go            4:31            Florence + The Machine           

The Chain            4:29            Fleetwood Mac           

Need You Now            3:57            Lady Antebellum

Better Be Good To Me (1997 Digital Remaster)            5:12            Tina Turner

Mated            4:00            Utopia            Anthology: 1974-1985            Rock                       

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore            3:04            The Walker Brothers           

The Whole of the Moon            5:00            The Waterboys           

Even If It Breaks Your Heart            3:42            Will Hoge           

Come Back And Stay            4:24            Paul Young           

Everytime You Go Away            4:29            Paul Young           

Try            4:08            Pink           

Fearless Heart            4:07            Steve Earle           

Bleeding Love            4:23            Leona Lewis           

Turn Your Pretty Name Around            4:49            Mark Olson & Gary Louris           

Whole Wide World            3:55            The Proclaimers          

Shoot Out The Lights            5:24            Richard & Linda Thompson